Friday, 12 April 2019

Beginners Mind

Beginner's Mind

In this BBC radio 4 radio programme, 'Suryagupta, chair of the London Buddhist Centre, explores the Zen Buddhist concept of Beginner’s Mind, which encourages the viewing of the familiar with fresh eyes.

She discusses the first time she discovered the benefits of Beginner’s Mind, at a retreat in Wales. While meditating, Suryagupta became fascinated by the sound of birdsong, feeling as if she was hearing it for the very first time. This meditation encouraged her to experience life anew, through help from texts such as Suzuki Roshi’s classic title Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

Suryagupta considers the obstacles that can hinder Beginner’s Mind, such as pressure and the burden of expectations. She suggests that attempting to return to the simple and spontaneous innocence of the child’s mind can help us overcome these obstructions, in order to experience moments of revelation and wonder. She concludes with a quote from Henry Miller, who celebrates the benefits of sharing these discoveries with others. In doing so, we can connect deeply with one another, and experience an interdependence that is freeing and refreshing.'

I found this way of thinking to be hugely helpful in my studio practice and in life more generally. In the arts there are no answers and so it can be difficult to get a real sense of achievement because the artistic process is always evolving and has no set end conclusion.

1 comment:

David said...

This is so simple to do, its easy to think it can't be that important. I first experienced this through sport, helped by reading Csikszentmihalyi’s work 10 years ago. With practice, I now experience it in an expanding set of everyday activities, and with further practice I hope one day to bring it to all areas of my life.

But is has been life-changing for me: Every experience is made richer, brighter and more intense. Time means nothing. I'm calm, most of the time :) Reading about it isn't necessary; just some basic instruction, then faith and persistence.